Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the weekend, after a lonely race out front at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
It was a one-two finish for Red Bull as Sergio Perez came home in second, and Lando Norris filled the final step on the podium.
It was a hugely disappointing race for Ferrari on home turf as Carlos Sainz retired on the first lap after being clipped by the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo.
Charles Leclerc then made a vital mistake in the final stages of the race, after an overaggressive entry to Variante Alta resulted in his F1-75 mounting the kerb and losing control before making contact with the barrier.
As he dropped way down the order, his error lifted Norris into the final podium position on Sunday.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton finished outside the points for only the second time since 2013 on Sunday after an incredibly disappointing race in an “undrivable” W13.
Racing resumes in two weeks’ time at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, on May 8, so until then, here are four of the main talking points from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Red Bull domination
Round Four was dominated by the Red Bull team, and despite the challenges thrown up by a wet to dry race at Imola, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez managed to secure the first one-two for the team since Malaysia 2016.
Max Verstappen scored the maximum amount of points across the weekend after winning the sprint, the race, and collecting a bonus point for the fastest lap.
The Dutchman now sits second in the driver’s standings behind Charles Leclerc – the pair split by just 27 points heading to Miami.
Speaking after the race, Verstappen said: “To have a weekend like this for both of us with a one-two for the Team is just incredible.
“It was a very lovely Sunday! Everything today was well executed, coming into the weekend I didn’t expect it to be like this. It was more or less a perfect weekend, everything went well for us and we’ll of course enjoy today.
“I scored the maximum amount of points this weekend and we can be really proud of that as a Team, it’s a great boost. Today was all about judging the conditions, making the right calls and staying very focused and I think we did that very well.
“We need to keep focused and we know that at the next race we need to be up there again and keep this going.”
It was an incredibly difficult outing for both Ferrari men this Sunday with Carlos Sainz’s race ending on Lap One and Charles Leclerc enduring a late mistake at their first race on home turf this season.
Sainz’s race came to an early close after being clipped by the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap. The Spanish driver beached his F1-75 with no hope of recovery as the fate of the team’s points lay in the solo hands of Charles Leclerc.
The Monegasque driver looked set to feature on the final step of the podium but made a vital mistake in the final laps at Imola and finished in P6.
After an overaggressive entry to Variante Alta the Monegasque driver mounted the kerb in his F1-75 and lost control before making contact with the barrier.
Team Principal, Mattia Binotto, spoke after the race and said “we will not lose heart and we will continue to work calmly.”
“Of course we are disappointed as we wanted a better result than this in front of all our fans. It was a difficult race,” he said.
“Our drivers did not get perfect starts, possibly being on the worse side of the track. Charles’ first pit stop was not the best either, which meant he was back out on track without the gap that might have allowed him to fend off Perez and then he made a mistake trying to overtake him.
“Carlos was very unlucky at the start and for the second time in a row, he was unable to finish the race. It’s a real shame, not just because of the points lost, but also because he’s completed very few kilometres in the last few Grands Prix.
“Nevertheless, we will not lose heart and we will continue to work calmly. We wanted to give the fans something to cheer about, as they packed out the grandstands and the fields with a sea of red to support us here at Imola.”
Mercedes title despair
Mercedes’ hopes of fighting for the title this season seem to be out of reach as the team copes with a severely underperforming W13.
After what Toto Wolff described as a “terrible race,” Hamilton made his feelings knowns and even said, “I’m out of the championship, for sure.”
The seven-time world champion finished outside the points for only the second time since 2013 on Sunday.
However, his teammate George Russell had an excellent start to the race and managed to jump five places in the first lap before arriving in fourth place at the chequered flag – marking the third time this season he has finished ahead of his world champion teammate.
After saying he believes he is entirely out of the title fight this year, Hamilton said: “There is no question about that. But I’ll still keep working as hard as I can, to try and pull it back together somehow.”
When asked if his result could have been helped by an earlier pit for dry tyres, Hamilton said: “I really don’t know to be honest. I don’t think it would have made much of a difference to be honest. A weekend to forget for sure.”
Taking to the radio after the race, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff even apologised and said: “Sorry for what you have had to drive today.
“I know this is undrivable and not what we deserve to score the result. We move from there, but this was a terrible race.”
Kevin Magnussen has been on the end of quite a lot of praise this season so far, after he signed on for the season just days before testing in Bahrain.
The Danish driver has been flying for the American outfit and has finished in the points at three out of four Grand Prix so far this season.
After scoring points in the Sprint and race – by finishing ninth – Guenther Steiner said “there is more to come” from them this season as they enjoy a start worlds ahead of their performance in 2021.
“We would have wished to have got a little bit more today but after four races, and three with points, we took something home and I think there is more to come,” Steiner said.
“It wasn’t an ideal race for us with Mick spinning on the first lap, which put him to the back, and with the field, like it is now recovering is almost impossible.
“Kevin was fighting hard, was going well on the wets and then on the dry tyres we were just not fast enough for the others.
“We scored three points over the weekend, so we need to keep on working and get ourselves in the position to be at the other end of the midfield, not at the back.”